Tuesday, June 20, 2017

June 20: 1 Kings 22; Psalm 138; Proverbs 17:17-18; Acts 13:16-43


            1 Kings: Israel had peace with Syria for three years. Then Ahab asked Jehoshaphat to help him take back Ramoth-gilead from Syria as it had once belonged to Judah. Jehoshaphat agreed but wanted to ask the Lord. Ahab gathered 400 of his prophet and they all agreed Ahab would have success. Jehoshaphat asked for a prophet of the Lord and they sent for Micaiah even though Ahab didn’t like him because he always prophesied doom for Ahab.
            Micaiah was told by the messenger to agree with the other prophets so he did when he came to Ahab. Ahab made him swear by the Lord that his prophecy was true. So, Micaiah told Ahab that the Lord had let a lying spirit go to all of Ahab’s prophets in order to lure Ahab to his death.
            Zedekiah, a false prophet, hit Micaiah claiming the spirit went to Micaiah. Micaiah told them all if Ahab returned in peace then God didn’t speak through him.
            Ahab and Jehoshaphat went to Ramoth-gilead Ahab convinced Jehoshaphat to wear his royal robes but Ahab disguised himself. When the enemy saw Jehoshaphat, they thought he was Ahab so they pursued him. When they recognized Jehoshaphat, they turned back. An archer randomly shot and wounded Ahab. When he died Israel fled. The blood from his chariot was washed out and dogs liked it up according to prophecy.
            In Judah: Jehoshaphat reigned for 25 years. He did right as did Asa, his father. The high places were not removed and people sacrificed there. He made peace with the king of Israel. He tried to make ships to get gold from Ophir but the ships were wrecked at Ezion-geber where they were built. When Jehoshaphat died, Jehoram, his son, took over.
            In Israel: Ahaziah, Ahab’s son took over and reigned two years. He did evil as had Ahab and Jeroboam. He provoked God to anger.
            Psalm: David gives thanks to the Lord with all that he has even among the gods. He thanks the Lord for his love, faithfulness, his exalted name, and word. He predicts that all the kings of the earth will also thank God when they hear God’s words. They will sign praises because of his glory and because he regards the lowly but not the proud. David declares that even in trouble, the Lord takes care of him. The Lord will fulfil his purpose for him because of his steadfast love that endures forever.
            Proverbs: Friends always love each other but there are times when a brother is the only one who helps in trouble. It isn’t wise to pledge to cover another person’s debt.
            Acts: After the synagogue ruler asked if Paul and Barnabas had any words of encouragement, Paul stood up started talking. He started with the exodus from Egypt, wandering in the wilderness, and conquering of Canaan. He talked about the judges, Saul and then David. He spoke of Jesus being David’s descendent and being Israel’s Savior. He told of John the Baptist coming before him.
            He said that God has sent this message of salvation to Jews and people who fear God. But those in Jerusalem didn’t recognize Jesus or understand the prophets, they killed Jesus fulfilling prophecy. He was buried and God raised him from the Dead. He appeared to those who followed him and are now witnesses. This is the good news promised to the fathers. Jesus is God’s son according to the Psalm 2. He was raised from the dead according to Isaiah 55:3 and Psalm 16:10. He made sure they understood that this didn’t apply to David who died and stayed dead. He told them that forgiveness of sins comes through Jesus and whoever believes is freed from everything that the Law can’t do. He warned them not to be scoffers foretold by Habakkuk 1:5 and Isaiah 29:14.
            When they left the synagogue, people begged to learn more the next week. Many Jews and converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas.

What Stood Out

            1 Kings: “I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and on his left; and the Lord said, 'Who will entice Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?' And one said one thing, and another said another” (1 Kings 22:19-20).
            Psalm: “The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever” (Ps 138:8).
            Proverbs: “A friend loves at all times” (Prov 17:17).
            Acts: “Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:38-39).


            1 Kings: Though Ahab had repented, the Lord decides to end his reign. The method is unique in the Bible though it gives us insight into the heavenly realm. Micaiah was given a vision of what happened in heaven. The Lord had the host of heaven on his right and left. It becomes clear that not all the hosts of heaven are angels. One was identified as a lying spirit that influences the false prophets to predict success for Ahab though the Lord clearly wants him to die at Ramoth-gilead. I learn from this that:
1)      God makes the decisions of when a person time is up on earth.
2)      He even determines how that will happen.
3)      He does not tempt or cause a person to lie, that is done by evil spirit or a person’s own desires (James 1:13-15).
4)      False visions or prophecies are from evil spirits.
5)      Evil spirits have access to the Lord. See also Job 1 – 2.
6)      God allows evil spirits to do harm.
7)      The evil spirits must get permission as Satan has to in Job.
            If we belong to the Lord through our relationship with Jesus Christ, we do not need to fear any of the evil spirits. We may suffer or be harmed in this life but we know that God is in control. He is sovereign and there is always a purpose in the good and our perceived bad circumstances. Fear, worry, and anxiety come only when we don’t know the Lord or we don’t trust him.
            Psalm: When we are grateful to the Lord we are able to praise him even in the midst of all the evil that surrounds us. The gods of this world will do what they can to keep us from being thankful, but they will fail when we remember that God is in charge. We can look back at Micaiah’s vision and see that our thankfulness and praise is apparent to the heavenly hosts, both good and evil. We can be assured, along with David, that the Lord will fulfill his purpose in us. Note that it isn’t our purpose for us but his purpose for us. When we realize that, we can have peace in the midst of turmoil.
            Proverbs: Do you want to know who a real friend is? Ask them to help you out with a legitimate debt. Not something frivolous, but something like a huge medical bill. Of course, you should be willing to do all you can to pay it off. A friend will help with that if it is within their means because they love you. If you don’t have a friend like that, then a brother or sister should step in to help. On the flip side. Are we willing to be that kind of friend or brother or sister? I’ve had friends ask me to co-sign for a truck but I wouldn’t do it, not because they were not friends, but I knew they didn’t have the ability to pay for it and there were other options they could afford. They didn’t NEED a truck either. It was a WANT. I’ve also loaned to the same friends when a bad situation came up. I did it, expecting return but didn’t get it. If they are friends, we must also be willing to give without expectation of return. That was a lesson I learned.
            Acts: Paul provides a very good outline for the gospel. He starts teaching where people are. He doesn’t jump right in to the good news. This is something we often overlook. People need a bridge from where they are to where God wants them. Paul will do the same thing when he goes to Athens. He starts talking to the people about their gods. It was easier with the Jews because they already knew the Scriptures. It is harder for us because most people don’t have any good concepts of who God is or what he has done in the past. Therefore, we must take time to find out what they do know and find a way to relate that to Jesus.
            Paul made a very profound theological statement when he said that we have forgiveness of our sins and the following verse implying that the Law can’t free anyone from sin. The Law convicts of sin and gave temporary relief. It is only through faith in Jesus that we can experience not only forgiveness but the power to overcome sin in our lives.


            I need to be able to rightly understand what the Lord has revealed to us about the heavenly realm. It helps me know that nothing is outside of God’s control including demonic forces that help people succumb to their evil desires. I need to be thankful to the Lord that through Jesus, I need not fear or succumb to those forces. I also need to remember that forgiveness of my sins is found in Jesus.

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